Daniel Pedrosa grabbed a late pole position in qualifying for tomorrow's home MotoGP race at Valencia.
The Repsol Honda rider shot to the top with a time of 1:31.517 with one minute of the session remaining, pushing newly-crowned world champion Casey Stoner to second.
The Marlboro Ducati rider, 86 thousandths behind Pedrosa, had just managed seconds earlier to take pole position from the other works Honda of Nicky Hayden by three tenths of a second. The American will start the race from third.
Frenchman Randy de Puniet, who held top spot in the timesheets just before the rush of the last minutes, ultimately set the fourth fastest time of the session, with his Kawasaki four tenths behind pole.
The Dunlop-shod Tech 3 Yamahas of Sylvain Guintoli and Makoto Tamada qualified in an impressive fifth and sixth spot respectively, ahead of the Suzuki of John Hopkins in seventh.
Loris Capirossi was eighth fastest in the second works Ducati. His last attempt looked good enough to fight for pole, but he had to run wide when he had a close encounter with the customer Ducati of Alex Barros.
Honda LCR's Carlos Checa, who missed this morning's free practice 3 as he underwent a scan in hospital after feeling ill yesterday, managed to set the ninth fastest time, while Honda Gresini's Marco Melandri qualified tenth.
Four minutes into the session Kawasaki rider Anthony West skidded into the gravel, while five minutes later Yamaha's Valentino Rossi had a massive accident that saw his M1 destroyed and the Italian rider left with a broken right hand.
Chaz Davies also had an off with his Pramac d'Antin Ducati with 15 minutes to go.
Pos Rider Make Time 1. Daniel Pedrosa (M) Honda 1:31.517 2. Casey Stoner (B) Ducati 1:31.603 + 0.086 3. Nicky Hayden (M) Honda 1:31.903 + 0.386 4. Randy de Puniet (B) Kawasaki 1:31.963 + 0.446 5. Sylvain Guintoli (D) Yamaha 1:32.074 + 0.557 6. Makoto Tamada (D) Yamaha 1:32.151 + 0.634 7. John Hopkins (B) Suzuki 1:32.165 + 0.648 8. Loris Capirossi (B) Ducati 1:32.261 + 0.744 9. Carlos Checa (M) Honda 1:32.273 + 0.756 10. Marco Melandri (B) Honda 1:32.367 + 0.850 11. Chris Vermeulen (B) Suzuki 1:32.617 + 1.100 12. Alex Barros (B) Ducati 1:32.714 + 1.197 13. Shinya Nakano (M) Honda 1:32.730 + 1.213 14. Toni Elias (B) Honda 1:32.790 + 1.273 15. Colin Edwards (M) Yamaha 1:33.021 + 1.504 16. Anthony West (B) Kawasaki 1:33.231 + 1.714 17. Valentino Rossi (M) Yamaha 1:33.290 + 1.773 18. Kurtis Roberts (M) KR 1:33.431 + 1.914 19. Chaz Davies (B) Ducati 1:34.436 + 2.919